“One day of life as a Tiger is far better than thousand years of living as a Sheep” – Tipu Sultan, 1799
Known as The Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan rules his Indian kingdom with a passion and ferocity only otherwise found in the Tiger’s lair. His throne sits upon two wooden tigers, his weaponry and artillary are artfully sculpted to represent the tiger’s fearsome face, and his soldier’s armour is emblazoned with the bold ‘bubris’ shape of the tiger’s vivid stripes. His love of the Tiger, and his hatred of the British come together in one atonishing piece of ornamentation; a mechanical tiger for his palace, simulating the gruesome death of a British soldier.
It is the late eighteenth century and the Colonial British are invading Tipu’s princely state, storming his palaces and looting his riches. As The British East India Company advances, Tipu Sultan rallies his troops from the furthest corners of his jewelled kingdom. He summons the majestic cats from the jungles, he calls the birds from the skies, and he releases the hounds from the kennels. To prepare them for battle, Tipu adorns his soldiers in the finest armour, beaten from ancient Indian gold, and jewelled with rubies and emeralds. Each helmet is carefully embroidered with ornate stitching, and each back is emblazoned with the tiger’s fearful stripes.
As the British finally break through the city walls, they are met by an army of ‘tigers’, leaping from the parapets and swooping overhead. His soldiers advise Tipu Sultan to escape from secret passages and live to fight another day, but to their astonishment he replies “One day of life as a Tiger is far better than thousand years of living as a Sheep”. Tipu Sultan died defending his capital on 4 May, 1799.
Citing the works of Rudyard Kipling, the ancient animal fables of the Indian Panchatantra and elements of the true tales of Tipu Sultan, this collection references sections of ancient indian culture. The mechanical ornament, ‘Tipu’s Tiger’, is part of the permanent collection at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The remainder of his riches have been returned to Mysore. The studio moodboard for The Sultan’s Soldiers collection is rich in culture, history, ornamentation and art. Discover key elements of Sabina’s research here, and view some of the images which inspired her designs.
View the collection illustrations in progress, and see how the drawings transform into detailed and intricate scarf designs. Sabina creates a story for each collection, as shown below, which is then illustrated and narrated through her elaborate handiwork.
Welcome to our our Autumn / Winter 2017 Campaign, The Sultan’s Soldiers.
Film: Studio Coconut
Model: Rose Powell, Bookings Models
MUA: Laura Locke
Shop the Collection
A range of beautiful fabrics are available for each design, from classic silk twill to our sumptuous signature wool and silk blend. Each piece is printed and hand finished by artisans in the UK.